General Motors sales rose 2.4% in August, riding a surge in deliveries of the automaker’s redesigned large trucks and executives forecast the momentum to continue into the fall as early demand for its all-new midsize trucks outpaces expectations.

GM sold 272,423 light vehicles in the U.S. last month over 27 selling days, according to WardsAuto data, compared with 275,847 cars, trucks and CUVs over 28 days in the same period last year. The results largely met expectations, but automakers such as Toyota, Nissan, Ford and Chrysler reported much healthier outcomes.

Kurt McNeil, vice president-U.S. Sales Operations at GM, cites a brisk month for truck sales at Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac, where newly released large pickups and SUVs appear to be gaining traction in the market. He also points to strong sales of the Buick Encore, GMC Acadia and Chevy Traverse CUVs, and the Chevy Sonic and Cruze.

Sales of the compact Encore grew 17.5% to 4,867 units, while deliveries of the larger Traverse and Acadia jumped 15.6% and 9.2%, respectively, to a combined to 18,369 copies. Sales of the Cadillac Escalade large SUV nearly doubled to 3,534 units.

GM’s total truck sales, including pickups, SUVs and CUVs, rose 7.5% in the month to 173,196. That ran counter to traditionally weak truck sales in August and saw GM overcome tightened inventory on the products heading into the month.

Falling fuel prices might have played a role. Government data shows gasoline down from prior-month for second straight time and down from year-ago in August for the first time since March. Diesel declined from July and also was down from year-ago for first time since March.

On the car side, sales of the tiny Sonic leapt 16.9% to 12,799 and Cruze shifted up 1.7% to 23,435. However, the automaker’s overall car sales skidded 5.3% to 99,227.

The Chevy Impala large sedan witnessed a drop of 23.4% to 9,802, while its Malibu midsize cousin saw flat sales at 16,346. GM plans downtime for the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant building those cars to trim inventories.

Sales of the Buick LaCrosse large sedan tumbled 33.7% to 4,454, contributing to a reversal of fortune for a division posting a surprisingly solid year. Cadillac deliveries continued a yearlong slide, as demand for the new CTS and ATS sports sedan wilted 32.5% and 14.0%, respectively.

Nonetheless, McNeil says economic factors are aligned to support further industry sales growth, with GM poised to gain ground on the strength of additional new products such as the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon hitting dealers in the coming weeks.

“We see a strong fall selling season ahead for GM and the industry, which sets the stage for the launches of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon,” McNeil says in a statement. “Car-buying fundamentals like employment and energy prices are in good shape, consumer confidence has reached a post-recession high and business investment is increasing.”

GM says an estimated 28,000 dealer orders have been placed for the Colorado, which is roughly 7% ahead of the automaker’s expectations. Some 14,000 units of the Canyon have been reserved, also ahead of predictions. Both pickups, which use carryover names but were redesigned from hood to hitch, began production this week.

GM also says it now forecasts industry light-vehicle sales this year to reach the “high end” of its outlook released January, which called for the delivery of between 16.0 million and 16.5 million units.

jamend@wardsauto.com